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Craig Fleming’s hopes of Blackpool job dashed

Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming.

Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming.

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Craig Fleming’s hopes of a return to top level professional football have been dashed after he was caught in the latest managerial merry-go-round.

The Lowestoft Town director of football was offered a first team coaching role at Championship strugglers, Blackpool. The 43-year-old spoke to Jose Riga and Pool chairman Karl Oyston - all with the blessing of Lowestoft chairman, Gary Keyzor.

But after being offered a rolling one-year contract as first team coach at Bloomfield Road, the trail went cold yesterday, hours after Riga became this season’s 21st managerial casualty.

“It’s true – I was offered a job there,” said Fleming, after rumours surfaced in the north-west he was in line for a role with the Championship strugglers. “I had spoken to Jose and the chairman there.

“But things change quickly in football and obviously with Riga going they have decided to go in a different direction. These things happen, I’ve been in the game long enough to know that. There aren’t any hard feelings.”

Lee Clark is expected to be unveiled as the new Blackpool boss this week and will bring his own backroom staff with him, meaning the job offer for Fleming is no longer on the table.

The former Norwich City defender has overseen Lowestoft’s impressive rise through the non-league pyramid, helping to take the club from the Eastern Counties League to the Conference North in the space of five years.

But what he thought was an opportunity to get back into the professional game was too good to turn down.

“I’ve always had an understanding with Gary (Keyzor) that if something big came up then they would be prepared to let me go,” he added. “I don’t think anyone would begrudge me this sort of opportunity but it wasn’t to be.

“I’m still very happy at Lowestoft and I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made. I still think we can make even more strides going forward.”

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